WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. Capitol Police Officer Vernon Alston died after suffering a heart attack while shoveling snow at his home in Delaware.
Alston, 44, was a 20-year veteran of the force, which provides security to the U.S. Capitol. He died Saturday.
"The death of Officer Alston is truly a tragic loss for the Alston family and the United States Capitol Police, which in fact is one in the same," Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said in a statement. "Officer Alston was someone who loved his job, and his loss leaves a huge void in the hearts of all of the men and women at the USCP."
"I'm saddened to learn that the U.S. Capitol Police has lost one of our own over the weekend as a result of the storm. For 20 years, Officer Vernon Alston was a fixture on the Capitol grounds while keeping the community safe," Reid said in a statement. "I am always grateful for the dedication and sacrifice of the Capitol Police force and Officer Alston was an exemplar of that. My thoughts are with Officer Alston's family during this difficult time."
"During his 20 years in the force, Officer Alston set an example of devotion and professionalism that we should all strive to follow," Ryan said in a statement. "Our prayers are with his family and fellow officers, who are truly our finest. We stand ready to support them in this time of anguish."